Members urge business and civic leaders to take action to build a more inclusive, resilient economy
SACRAMENTO — Members of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery today issued an open letter calling out the insidious effects of structural racism across society, including the economy, and urging business and civic leaders to take a stand against injustice as the state and nation works to rebuild, for a more inclusive and resilient economy.
“As people across our nation stand up for justice, we as business and civic leaders recognize that taking a stand against racism is not just a moral imperative for our collective future, but an economic one. The discrimination inflicted upon Black Americans has entrenched discrimination that harms other people of color – leaving them, and our entire economy, vulnerable to a shock like the COVID-19 crisis,” the signers said. “But recovering from COVID-19 also presents an opportunity to re-imagine our society and economy by striking out against injustice. We declare with one voice that this pattern of racial inequality must stop now and that the results of our attempt to redress the past and correct the present will manifest in this generation.”
The letter, signed by California leaders from across a diverse range of economic and social sectors, outlines how people of color are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; unemployment; and racism in policing, and highlights the income gaps across ethnicity, gender and ability that persist in our state — the world’s fifth-largest economy.
Since its inception, the Task Force has committed to put people first, explicitly address racial and ethnic discrimination and disparities, expand opportunity in places facing extreme poverty and inequality, and prioritize shared prosperity and economic inclusion.
The Task Force urged business and civic leaders in California to pledge to:
- Lead on racial equity in businesses and institutions, pointing to the corrosive impact of racism and encouraging conversations and actions among employees and colleagues;
- Recover from the COVID-19 recession by working to create jobs that are inclusive, sustainable and equitable, building ladders of opportunity for Californians who have been locked out of our state’s prosperity;
- Commit to a robust, equitable educational system in which learners of all ages can succeed, including closing the digital divide and supports for parents furthering their education;
- Work with the Governor’s Office and in their own institutions to develop policies that can correct the past and improve the future, including supporting small businesses owned by and operating in communities of color, targeting education and training to those usually left behind, prioritizing environmental-justice principles, and closing the racial wealth gap;
- Continue to make transparent and address the racial disparities of COVID-19, by working with the Governor’s Office to provide more equitable access to PPE in the workplace, testing in communities of color and access to health care for prevention and treatment.
- Address the long-term housing crisis in California with a full understanding of the racially disparate patterns of homeownership, rent burden and homelessness;
- Think long-term by collaborating with the Governor’s Office and in their own organizations to design jobs programs for California’s diverse youth so that their futures are not permanently derailed by coming of age in a recession.
A copy of the Task Force’s letter can be found here.